Paraphrasing Method Man here but if you can’t get yourself a ten then why not settle for two fives? That would seem to be the motto going forward for the Oakland Raiders who are expected to announce today that they will block off no less than six sections of the upper deck infamously known as Mount Davis thus dropping the total seating capacity in the Coliseum.
Also, the team is likely to reduce the price on certain season tickets according to Paul Gutierrez’s report on CSN Bay Area.com.
Whatever the specifics the writing is very much on the wall here. Last season the Raiders took advantage of the league’s new rule on blackouts by locking in the lowest figure possibly in order to “sellout” the Coliseum. That number was 85% capacity necessary to avoid blackout. For the record the Raiders hit their mark in 7 of 8 home dates and have been blacked out just once in the last two years.
However the move to pull a page from the Jacksonville Jaguars playbook by putting a tarp on it (not a bird) speaks to the dire situation the franchise is facing going forward. Already the City of Oakland is making massive budgetary cuts including a reduction in the police force. Meanwhile the Coliseum commission is exploring desperate options to keep the city’s pro sports franchises in the East Bay.
Did I mention the city of Los Angeles still has dueling stadium bids for two NFL franchises?
With regards to the product on the field, it’s also obvious that Raider Nation is reaching the crossroads with their beloved team. Now there will never be a mutiny. Raider Nation is far too faithful to resort to bandwagon tactics of Charger fans (that’s an oxymoron by the way).
A decade of dismal football in which consecutive mediocre seasons were celebrated has given way to yet another full rebuild. There is just no ignoring how horrible 2012 was for the Raiders and the prospects of improving in 2013 appear slim as there are many more financial hurdles to overcome.
Now the doom and gloom of this post might be just the overreaction of one paranoid fan. But the facts speak for themselves. Gutierrez points out that before the announced reduction in seating capacity only the Chicago Bears had a lower number of seats to fill.
There is no arguing the bar is being lowered here. Expectations were severely tapered and for all intents and purposes we might as well view this as an expansion franchise trying to find its feet. I hope I’m way off the mark on this but something tells me the internal talks in Alameda aren’t very positive these days.